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Office Hours: Policy Experts Discuss the House GOP Immigration Bills

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A recording of today’s call is available here

In the wake of Republicans’ failure to gather the 218 signatures needed on a discharge petition to force a House floor vote on the Dream Act, Republicans are holding two immigration votes on the House floor next week. In today’s call, policy experts dove deep on what is in the recently-released bill fashioned by Speaker Ryan in consultation with Freedom Caucus and so-called GOP moderates.

Kerri Talbot, Immigration Hub: “This bill is worse than the original Senate bill that failed. There is absolutely no provision in here that says families will not be separated; the “zero tolerance” policy that results in the prosecution for the parent and separation from their child remains in place. This bill would also cut in half the number of those who are granted asylum, thus sending asylum seekers back to their deaths. It’s extremely sad that the GOP won’t address the policies that would lead to humane and reasonable solutions. They want to be able to lock everybody up.”

Patrice Lawrence, National Policy and Advocacy Director for UndocuBlack Network: “The recent White House 2.0 or Ryan Bill is the furthest thing from compromise and will not benefit Dreamers in any way. This bill eliminates Diversity Visas: these visas are thoroughly regulated and require high school diplomas, or equivalent education certifications, intense background checks, and generates more cultural equality, the majority going to African and Asian nations. Trump’s “shit hole” comments prove his administration’s policies are steeped in racism. This bill also plans to eliminate sponsorships of married children and siblings. It is evident that uniting families strengthens communities, so it makes no sense to eliminate these sponsorship categories, especially for a party that puts so much emphasis on “family values.” We reject the elimination of Diversity Visas and Trump’s plan to keep black and brown people out of this country.”

Tom Jawetz, Vice President of Immigration Policy at Center for American Progress: “The country is demanding an end to the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents and for members of Congress to work together on a bipartisan solution for Dreamers. The two partisan bills on the House Floor next week will get us no closer to either goal but instead aim to radically reshape our legal immigration system and undermine decades of protection for vulnerable children and asylum seekers who need protection. Dreamers and children should not be used as leverage to realize an un-American vision of this country.”

Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice: “Yesterday, we finally saw the House immigration bill that’s been put together by so-called Republican moderates. The legislation is worse than the White House proposal that was soundly defeated on the Senate floor. This bill is incredibly stingy to Dreamers, it turbocharges deportations, it eviscerates asylum, and it calls for the construction of stupid and unnecessary border wall. Democrats cannot, should not, and I predict will not support this bill. The real question is why would so-called Republican moderates do so? They have caved to the far-right, and instead of standing strong for a bipartisan solution that would advance the cause of Dreamers, they have ended up with a bill that is going nowhere.”